Sunday afternoon, we were all sitting around Mom and Dad's table, enjoying lunch. Mom feeds us lunch on Sundays, one of the many ways I am far more blessed than I deserve. Mmmmm. Lunch I didn't cook.
Where was I?
Oh, right. We were sitting there, after lapping up black bean soup, enjoying some ice cream, basking in the warm glow of family and love and (did I mention?) food that I didn't cook. Lovely. Max looked up from his bowl, a bright smile on his face, and said,
"Hey, you know what happened the other night?"
Oh lord, I thought, freezing, my hand clutching my spoon in midair, no no no, he's not going to -
"Dad was jumping on the bed!"
"WHAT?" said Raphael. "I'M not allowed to jump on the bed."
Please, God, just this once, could you override that whole "free will" deal and take away Max's ability to speak, and in return I will totally stop swearing in my head and calling other drivers jerks I promise please and amen.
"No, seriously. It was the middle of the night -"
I can't feel my fingers, I thought. This is like one of those dreams where everything is happening in sloooooowww moooootion, but you still are powerless to stop it. Max has been talking for weeks now. Can't he just STOP?
"You were probably dreaming, honey," Mom interjected, the angel of mercy that she is. Of course, if she really wanted to help, she would have lit a fire in the kitchen or something and cut the entire conversation short. Dad was looking hard at his empty ice cream bowl, his shoulders shaking, as he tried not to laugh out loud. Max was undeterrable.
"No, I had got up to go pee, and I heard this sound, like someone jumping on the bed - stop it, Dad." He waved Clay away from his ice cream bowl, where he had been dipping in his spoon in an attempt to distract Max. It wasn't working, damn the meds for all this stupid focus. "Anyhow, I heard this sound, so I went upstairs, but the bedroom door was LOCKED!"
Mom and Dad were both snickering at their ice cream bowls now. I tried to remember how to breathe, and wondered vaguely if it was possible for one's face to ACTUALLY burst into flames.
"Were you REALLY jumping on the bed?" Tre asked, incredulous. I seemed to have gone blind. I shook my head and coughed hard in my napkin.
"No," I gasped out, "of course not. Jumping on the bed IS NOT ALLOWED."
"Then why is everyone laughing so hard?" he asked.
Thirty seven isn't necessarily too young to have a stroke, I thought. Please, God, if you can't erase Max's last few sentences, you could take me home now, thanks, amen.
"And anyhow," Max finished, "they finally answered the door, and Dad had been jumping on the bed! In the middle of the night! He's such a goober."
And then I perished. But it was already way too late.